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Cavaliers-76ers Preview

AP - Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers haven't been playing particularly well lately. Having Andre Iguodala back in the lineup could help change that.

Iguodala may return from injury when the host 76ers go for a fourth consecutive victory over the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.

Since an 18-7 start pushed it out to a four-game lead in the Atlantic Division, Philadelphia (27-22) has lost 15 of 24 and finds itself in a tight battle with Boston for the top spot.

The 76ers have one of the deepest teams in the league with eight players averaging at least 8.2 points. However, Iguodala's all-around game was sorely missed as they lost for the fifth time in seven games Sunday, 93-76 at San Antonio.

With the All-Star forward missing his first game of the season due to left patella tendinitis, Philadelphia managed 27 second-half points and committed a season-worst 21 turnovers.

The 76ers give the ball away a league-low 11.0 times per game.

"We missed 'Dre (Iguodala) because he's another ballhandler," coach Doug Collins told the league's official website. "We were very careless, and that's unlike us."

That's nothing new for the Cavaliers (17-29), who have averaged 18.3 turnovers during their three-game skid. Cleveland had 22 in a 108-83 loss to Phoenix on Sunday.

"We're not a very good team right now,'' said coach Byron Scott, whose team fell behind 12-0 and lost for the sixth time in seven games.

While the Cavs have hit a rough patch following a season-best three-game win streak March 7-11, it could have gotten much worse Sunday with Antawn Jamison leaving with a bruised left leg and ankle. The veteran forward returned in the second quarter, though, and should be available Tuesday.

Jamison, averaging 18.0 points and 6.6 rebounds, led Cleveland with 20 points in its lone meeting with the 76ers this season, a 99-84 home loss Feb. 11.

Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday scored a team-best 20 points and handed out five assists in that contest, though he didn't face Cavs star Kyrie Irving due to a concussion.

The rookie point guard has enjoyed an outstanding first season, averaging 18.8 points with 5.6 assists, but he and rookie big man Tristan Thompson struggled defensively against the pick and roll Sunday. Suns center Marcin Gortat scored the first 10 points, while point guard Steve Nash finished with 13 assists.

"There's a lack of energy and we're not together out there," Irving said. "... I feel confident that we will figure it out. We're looking forward to playing a good Philly team and hopefully we bring it."

Thompson has averaged 14.0 points and 8.2 rebounds while starting the last five games in place of Anderson Varejao, sidelined the last 21 games with a broken right wrist.

Sixers center Spencer Hawes should make a sixth straight start after missing 28 of the previous 31 games, including the Feb. 11 contest, with a strained left Achilles.

Hawes had 10 points and 12 rebounds while Thaddeus Young added 26 points and 11 boards as Philadelphia won 117-97 in the Cavaliers' last visit Dec. 7, 2010.

Cleveland had won five straight in this series and eight in a row in Philadelphia, with LeBron James in the Cavs lineup for six of those.

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